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Parenting Issues Message Board

Parenting Issues Board Index

Senior 2004,

I don't know if you are still interested in any suggestons or if you are even checking these posts anymore. But, here's another thought....

Parents don't want to be TOLD that you are responsible, trustworthy, and capable. They want to be SHOWN those things. The words don't mean a thing and aren't worth the breath they take if they aren't backed up with your action. Parents want their 16 & 17 year olds to SHOW them that they are using "adult thinking" rather than "kid thinking."

In that situation you wrote about, using adult thinking would have looked something like this: (before even going out) Hmmm, my cell phone isn't charged (the reason doesn't matter)and my friend doesn't have a phone at her house, so, I need a backup plan. Ah-ha, there's a 7-11 not too far away, so I'll have my friend drive me there if I need to call in case I'm late or something happens.
(then later in the evening) hmmmm...I don't have to be home by 1:00, but I'm starting to get tired. My friend looks like she's getting tired, too. Well, even though it's only 11:30, maybe I ought to head home now. It would be bad news if we both wound up falling asleep and I didn't make curfew.

OR - hmmmm, my friend is asleep and I'm supposed to wake her up so she can take me home. I don't really want to go home right now, because I'm really enjoying this movie (well, actually, making out with my boyfriend), but, I am starting to get tired and it would REALLY feel good to just sleep (with him) for a little while....but, what if I really DO fall asleep and don't wake up in time. I don't want to, but I'd better go wake her up right now (even though she's in there with her boyfriend and that will sort of be embarrassing) so she can take me home so I don't get in trouble.

OR - lets say the worse happens and I haven't used adult thinking at all, all night long...and I wake up 3 hours late.... The adult thing to do is to GET TO A PHONE FAST to let everyone know I'm okay, that I was stupid and irresponsible and didn't plan or think things through, that I fell asleep, and I'm rushing home right NOW. And then, when I get home, I apologize and accept whatever chewing-out and consequences I get because I KNOW I screwed up.

See - there were SO many times during the course of your evening that YOU could have acted differently to SHOW your parents that you are ready for more freedom. But, Sweetie, until you are at a place in your maturity and development where you can see your actions and choices honestly, and where you can accept the consequences for YOUR choices and and actions without blaming outside circumstances (cell phone not charged, friend with no phone, falling asleep, etc.), then, you are definitely NOT ready for the responsibilities (and freedoms) of adulthood.

If you think you ARE ready, the you need to start backing up your talk with actual changes in behavior and attitude. Once your parents SEE that you are able to use good judgement and can SEE that you can plan for the unexpected, and can SEE that you accept the fall-out from your own mess-ups CONSISTENTLY (not just once or twice every now and then), that's when they'll start feeling better about giving you more room and freedom.

Another thing, all of us adults out here still have to answer to someone or something that has authority over us..whether it's a boss, the law, or the good old IRS. Even someone who owns their own company has to answer to their employees (trust me, if an employer "forgets"...for whatever pay someone...oh boy, lookout!) or- if someone owns a company with no employees, they still have to answer to their customers and clients. So, my advice would be to get good and used to the idea of having to answer to people for your choices and actions for the rest of your life. The only thing that changes is the type of punishment that's doled out and by whom. Instead of getting grounded by your parents, you get fired, or you lose customers (and therefore money), or your car gets repossessed, or you get evicted, or you get sued, or the IRS comes after you, or you get arrested.

I do wish you the best. You have another year in which to do some more growing up. I hope you put that time to good use exercising the "adult side" of your brain that is sitting there just waiting and ready and begging to be used.

You think you've got it bad. I am 18 years old now and just moved to a different city completely to get to hell away from my mother. You have a 1am curfew. I didn't have a curfew. This was because for 5 years the only place I went was to school and home. I didn't have a choice in the matter. You are 17 y/o with a 1 am curfew and a cell phone. At 17 I got up, went to school, then come home and took care of my baby brother and our house while my mother went to parties and did drugs. My thought on this whole matter is atleast you have a mother who cares about you and is there for you. If she didn't love you then she wouldn't care where you were or what you were doing.

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